Wednesday, December 19, 2012

One Crazy Pennsylvania Vacation...I mean Adoption! (Part 3)

If you haven't read Part 1 or Part 2, click on the links to direct you.

So after all of the craziness, we got to meet our son
Lex Allen Carson

I kept having to pinch myself I couldn't believe all of this happened so fast! I was so happy, and yet so in shock that this was reality. 

Now let me tell you, I had prayed very specifically starting in early November for God to bring us a baby suddenly with not much wait time, and that they would be out of state so we would just fly there and then be there for a few days so we could have some bonding time...and I would really appreciate this before Christmas. Oh, and I honestly prayed for a boy! We had a boy name picked out and I just knew I wanted another boy. I shared my prayer with a few friends and family and just got this "Oh no Shellie, please don't be disappointed if this doesn't happen" look from all of them. I don't know how to explain it, but I just felt so close to God during these prayers like He was nodding His head saying "Yes child, I hear you, just wait and watch what I'm going to do for you. It's going to blow your mind!" I can't explain it, but I just felt confident that all of this was going to happen and so when it did I couldn't help but praise Him for answering my prayer so specifically that I knew it could only come from Him!!! God is so incredibly GREAT and the testimony He gave me through all of this is something I will always hold dear!
So after we were at the hospital for a few hours, a very sweet nurse walked up to us and let us know that the social worker for the hospital had offered for us to stay at her house. At this time we didn't know anything about the longevity of our stay so we thanked them for the offer, and decided to not intrude.

Since Lex was born 6.5 weeks early, at that time the doctors were expecting us to be in the hospital for 2-3 weeks. It was at this time we realized we were going to be in Pennsylvania for the long haul and potentially there for Christmas! So we contacted the social worker, packed up our bags from the hotel and went to stay with them.

Can I pause for a moment and just let you know that we could feel God's mighty hand in our lives at every point of this journey. Not only was this an incredibly sweet family to open their home, but they were also believers, prayed for and with us for Lex, and the hospitality that they provided was unmatchable. They helped us get settled into their mother-in-law suite, and then we awoke to the sweetest little note, vitamins and breakfast laid out, along with some heavier coats for us to wear! Plus we didn't have to worry about dinner at night. Yes, we were spoiled by God's love through other believers. It reminded me of one of my favorite verses, Hebrews 13:2 "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." Except that they were our angels!

Over the next few days, we were waking up, taking a shower, heading to the hospital, feeding and loving on Lex, leaving for a quick lunch, going back to the hospital, feeding and loving on Lex, leaving to go back to our host home for dinner with their family, going back to the hospital to feed and love on Lex one last time, then head back to the house for some sleep. This was our lives for his 10 days of hospital stay and I honestly wouldn't have changed it. Through this time we got to know the amazing nursing staff at the hospital. We grew very close to them and even enjoyed dinner at one of their houses before Lex was discharged! We also grew extremely close to our host family, the Verretts! Chuck, Marianne, Zach, Emma, Sam, (and on our last day, Marty), along with their dog Simba, cat Shadow, aunt Susie, and their friends from school that hung out at the house. It was a house full of boisterous teenagers and we had so much fun! I helped cook dinners and desserts in the kitchen, Kelly helped clean and played racquetball with Chuck and we just enjoyed their company so much. We even were able to worship with them on our last Sunday morning there. It was amazing and they truly are and always will be family to us now! 

When they finally discharged Lex from the hospital, we had to wait another 5 days for the inter-state adoption paperwork to be completed. It was such a sweet time that we had as a family to bond and get to know our new son. It also made me long for home as I missed our 19 year old very much and wanted to get back to him as well!

In addition, we found out that Lex has a half sister in Pennsylvania and that will give us just one more reason to go back and visit. Pennsylvania truly became our home away from home and we will always cherish the time we had there. We cannot wait until he's a little older and we can take a family trip back to see everyone and let Lex see in person his "birth story".

Late on Friday, 12/14 we got word from our caseworker that the paperwork went through and we could now come back to Texas! Praise the Lord!!! So we spent one last night hanging out with our dear new friends, said our goodbyes, and left early Saturday morning. It was a bittersweet time.

Since rarely do things go according to plan, we shouldn't have been surprised by a long lay-over in Minnesota with our connecting flight, but we just sat back and snuggled with our little one (shielding him from all of the people that could be infected with germs of course)! We finally made it home late Saturday night and boy did it feel good to step outside into some warm Texas air!

I have learned so much from this process, and cannot explain the depth at which God has worked in and through me throughout this time. The closeness and intimacy I feel is indescribable! God is so GREAT, no words can express!

A dear friend called during our stay in PA and said she heard a song on the radio that she knew I was singing that sentiment in my heart. Little did she know that was the actual song that had been echoing in my head and heart throughout this entire time! The chorus says:
Joy, unspeakable joy!
And overflowing where no tongue can tell.
Joy, unspeakable joy!
Rises in my soul, never lets me go.

The joy that comes from our Lord really does rise in my soul and I know that it will never let me go! I am blessed, beyond measure. Thank you dear sweet friends for the prayers, words of encouragement, and many other blessings. I pray that you too will rejoice with us as your prayers have been answered as well.

God's love is amazing!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our trip to Pennsylvania and adoption of Lex.

Lex's sweet smile

One of my favorite pictures!

His response after taking his first bath...

What daddy's do to sons

What mommy's do to sons :)

His first feeding

Such sweet moments

Lex snorts a lot :)

One of our long hospital days...

 YAY! It was finally time to be discharged from the hospital!!!
The nurses got Lex a cute little Christmas outfit to wear home!
(Which was great since we were so excited about him being discharged that we forgot his going home outfit and diaper bag at the house! Yes, we are THOSE

The sweet time I had with Lex when we got back to the Verrett's house.

His first night home from the hospital, all snuggled up!

Enjoying my little Christmas present!

Lex's first doctor's appointment. He sure was happy to go! Hehe

Some of the views from our bedroom/living area in Pennsylvania...

  And we FINALLY got to come home to Texas...

 Lex's first night at home sweet home.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Our Crazy Weekend (Part 2)

If you haven't read Part 1, you can read it HERE.


As soon as we got off the phone we ran into the game room to tell Kiir that he was about to have a little brother, but he couldn't tell anyone. I don't know if he was more excited about the little brother part (since he insisted that he did NOT want a sister) or about the part that he would have the house to himself for a week! Then we started packing, booked our flight, and tried to lay down to sleep. Well, Kelly shut his eyes and was out. Me on the other hand, well, I must have just been too excited. So after laying in bed, eyes wide open for 30 minutes, I got up and wrote Part 1 of the blog, then just read...the same page over and over again because it was too hard to concentrate! Plus I was getting phone calls from the birth mother's caseworker throughout the evening telling me how her labor was progressing.

At 3:30 our ride arrived and we were off to the airport! Our flight left at 5am and we landed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at 11am. As soon as we got into the rental car, the birth mother's caseworker called and let us know our son was born while we were in the air at 7:37am! Oh my gosh! He's here!!!!

So we made a quick pit stop by the hotel to drop our bags off, then headed to the hospital. When we got there we met the caseworker in person and she led us to the birth mother's room. We were able to sit down and meet this wonderful woman that picked us to be her son's parents! It was such a sweet time of learning about her life, her family, and other things we'll be able to share with our son as he grows up. She is such a sweet person and it was a time I will always cherish!

Come to find out after that time, our son was born 6.5 weeks premature! So after talking with the birth mom, we gave the doctors time to get him settled in the NICU before we got to meet him. Plus, I honestly had not eaten much since dinner the night before so I was feeling faint about then and needed something in my system.

After lunch we were told he was ready and we could go meet our son!

A flood of emotions rushed through my body as they put the hospital bracelet on me as his mom! Then we walked through and saw that little body in the incubator warming up. The tears I had been holding back came rushing through and he was the most beautiful baby I've ever seen!!!

We watched his chest rise up and down, his little feet raise in the air to stretch, and the nurses opened it up so we could put our hands in there and touch his crazy, handsome hair and hold his beautiful tiny fingers! He was ours and we were his!

Lex Allen Carson 
5lbs, 0ozs, 18.5" long

He is named after his great grandfather, and his grandfather.
Lex: defender of men
Allen: rock

Perfect in every way!

Stay tuned for Part 3 to be posted soon.....

Monday, December 03, 2012

One Crazy Day!

Thursday morning, I was sitting in a meeting, listening to introductions when all of the sudden I got a phone call from our case worker. She was calling to let us know that a birthmom had picked us and wanted to talk that night!


I was jumping up and down!
( a high school open area...where they were looking at me like I was crazy)
I couldn't wait to get off of the phone and call Kelly with all of the good news and details, including the fact that we would get to meet her via a phone call that night!

So I tried to focus by taking good notes throughout the day at my meeting, but it sure was hard to concentrate! So when I got home I was super anxious about the phone call. Waiting all of this time has been hard but waiting those few hours seemed even more intense! I was counting down until 6pm...hours...then minutes...

6pm came and went.
Okay, she's nervous so I'll give her more time.
6:30 came and went.
Still probably nervous...more time needed...
7pm came and went.....

Had she changed her mind? Why wasn't she calling?
So we texted our case worker to investigate with the birthmom's case worker.

We got a call at 7:30....
"Guess what guys.....she's in labor!"

She's not due for another almost 4 weeks?????!!!!!! 
You're kidding right?

Nope, she's really in labor!
Book your plane flight, a hotel and get there ASAP!

That's all you get for now...stay tuned for PART 2! :)

Monday, November 12, 2012


It's been 97 days since I last posted. 97 days since my life story changed in a way I didn't predict. It's interesting how sometimes it seems like only 2 weeks ago and other times like it's been years. Isn't it interesting how that works? I find the human brain extremely facinating!
Sorry, I ramble sometimes. Back on topic...whatever that might be.
I've had a hard time knowing how to move forward in this journey. I honestly feel like I've been Jonah, in the belly of a whale, just waiting to move forward. Or maybe Paul sitting in prison, waiting for God to release him or guide him in the next path. Yes, I know, I'm far from a whale or prison, but it's that sense of patiently waiting. Waiting for God to move us forward but not knowing if we will be in this time of waiting for a few more days or a few more months. Everything about this process is out of our hands and it's the most intensively passive process I've ever been a part of.
Really, I just wanted to blog to let you know that we're still alive and doing okay. I've received emails or messages asking how we are doing and I honestly don't know how to answer that question. It's kind of like any loss I think. Some days I'm great, looking forward to what is to come. Other days my grief is strong and my patience runs thin. It reminds me of how I still continue to process my best friend/cousin's death from almost 10 years ago. There are mornings when I wake up and think of Katy and all of the fun memories we shared and can't stop smiling. And there are still times I miss her so much it makes me cry walking in the middle of a store.
Sometimes I walk past the nursery and go in just to look around. Other days the door remains closed.
It's a process. A process of grief, of trusting God's plan, of sanctification. I find it interesting the different things we all have that God is working on perfecting. Mine is definitely trusting His plan over my own. I wonder why it is so difficult?
I can just rest assured in knowing He is guiding my steps as He has already walked before me and there is a baby out there He has already declared a Carson! Please join me in praying for our future birth mom, our future child, for our family, and even somedays for my sanity and a heart of peace! We know God has a perfect plan, and a perfect time!
And just in case it happens tomorrow, the diaper bag is packed, sitting on the car seat, in a prepared nursery! :) Wishful thinking? Yep, it sure is!
Thanks for your friendship, your love, and your prayers!

I leave you with this verse that has been on my heart.
May you lean on Him dear friends!
"We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
Romans 5:3-5

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

A day of grief can end in praise...

Sorrow is defined as: 
distress caused by loss, affliction, disappointment, etc.; grief, sadness, or regret.

Today, Kelly and I felt a deep sense of sorrow.

 When you go into an adoption, you prepare for the worst so you are surprised by anything better. It might be morbid, but it's worked for us. But what happens to your soul when the worst happens?

Distress caused by loss.

But regret? No. No regrets.

See, what we have also learned is that we serve a Great God, our Lord and Savior, that has a plan far better than we could ever imagine in our lives. Today, we came to know His love for us even more.

This morning we found out that our birthmom gave birth yesterday and chose to parent. Parenting a child is never a bad decision. In a safe environment, it is always better for a child to stay with their biological parents. That doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt. It hurt both of us in a very extreme way. We were attached to a child that we have waited years for and that child was not given to us. For those not familiar with this process, this is called a disrupted adoptive placement. We lost our child today that we had emotionally bonded with and we will always grieve for this loss. Even our son was disappointed and sad. In his words, "Really? That sucks!" 

But on the long, quiet trip back home, I had such a sense of peace that God already walked this path before us and knew it was coming. He, and He alone gave us the strength to handle it. Through this adoption process I have grown to trust in Him deeper than I would have ever known was possible and you know what, it was worth the pain to drawn this close to my King!

God does not have bad plans for our lives. His plan is not for us to suffer for no reason. His plan is for us to glorify Him, to take care of us, to give us a future and hope. He has a perfect plan that right now we cannot see. But trusting in Him is so much sweeter than anything else and I would never change the circumstances that make me draw closer to Him. Without them I would not know how deep His love runs for me.

Today, I cried out to Him with praise for His unending, faultless love.

We will take time to mourn, to grieve through this pain, and then we will continue walking because we know He is waiting for us to take His hand and follow.

For now, I will continue to mediate on His Word, as it is perfect and true. Today I found comfort and praise in Psalm 138. I will leave you with David's amazing and comforting words...

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
    before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
    and will praise your name
    for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
    that it surpasses your fame.
When I called, you answered me;
    you greatly emboldened me.
May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
    when they hear what you have decreed.
May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
    for the glory of the Lord is great.
Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
    though lofty, he sees them from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
    with your right hand you save me.
The Lord will vindicate me;
    your love, Lord, endures forever —
    do not abandon the works of your hands.  

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Nursery: Phase 2

After seeing what the walls looked like (you can see pictures here), I decided that I didn't want to add too much to take away from the incredible paint job by Robin Oas! So instead of adding some color, I tried to keep most things white so they would stand out, but not too much.

Before the painting ever began, I ordered 3 sets of decals to go in the room that I fell in love with online. The first was a growing tree but instead of actual measurements, it had the size of Dr. Seuss characters. I absolutely LOVE how it turned out and it's one of Kelly's favorite additions to the room.

The second decal I ordered was a combination of quotes from the Dr. Seuss book: All the Places You'll Go. I saw it on a wall, looked up the measurements and thought it would look brilliant, fresh and fun on the door to the nursery. It took the longest to install, but it is one of my favorite things in the room. I think it looks amazing!!!

The third decal I ordered were actually hand painted wall paper images of "Thing 1" & "Thing 2". After all of the room was painted, they didn't really go anymore where I wanted to put them. So I decided to put them on the doors to the bottom of the book case and I think it works perfectly! They are cute, playful, and add a small pop of color to the white wood. We got the bookcase at a mission garage sale, sanded it down and painted it ultra white. I bought new hardware at Anthropologie and the books are an assortment of sizes that we found at Half Price Books.

The dresser in the room was part of a furniture set that my grandparents bought for their 10 year wedding anniversary and gave us when we moved into this house. It is amazingly elegant and I thought that it would make a wonderful showcase piece in the nursery. So with the help of Kelly's aunt & uncle we sanded it down and painted it ultra white. I took the original drawer hardware and painted it fun colors. I found the door hardware at Nadeau and think it adds the whimsical touch it needed!

Lastly, the glider was a loan from my parents to use for now, the amazing black & white rug we got from Rug Gallery in Dallas, we got the crib off Craigslist, and the cute bedding online at Seuss Land. Also, I bought the white lamp from Ikea and then used markers to color in different colored circles all over it. It was a fun, cheap project!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how it all turned out!!!
Here's a recap of the paint, in case you didn't see them before the furniture:

Don't you love our artist Robin?!?!
Here's her FB page in case you are interested in her painting something for you (walls, canvases, etc.)

I cannot imagine changing anything and cannot wait to put all of the other little things and necessities in here that will make it a real baby room when we can have a shower after the baby comes home. Thank you so much to all of you that have helped! Future baby Carson is definitely loved by many!!! :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Nursery: Phase 1 (Painting)

Most moms start the process of planning their nursery when they start telling people they are pregnant. There is a since of a safe timeline. With adoption it could be a phone call in 24 hours upon approval or you could wait up to 2 years. So how do you decide when to start preparing the nursery? This, my friends, was something I was torn about. I didn't want to prepare this grand room and then stare at its cuteness for 2 years! So I decided I wanted to wait until we were matched to begin playing with this room even if that meant doing it after the baby came.

Unbeknown to us, God had the perfect plan in store. Before I could even figure out my paint colors, we were matched and the baby was due in a little over 2 months! Definitely enough time to decorate!

So off I was to pick the perfect theme. You see, we wanted something gender neutral because even though we know the sex of the baby (and yes, we are still keeping it a secret from all of you!), we also know that we have to prepare ourselves for the birth mother to choose to parent OR for the birth father to come forward and for us to have to walk away from this baby. However, I wanted bright colors! Bright colors make me happy and I wanted this baby to be in an environment that stimulated it's mind but was very playful and not babyish. So after agonizing over ideas I have had for the past few years I decided on a Dr. Seuss theme. I looked online at all kinds of bedding and finally found one that had the bright, neutral colors I was going for. After finding the bedding, the rest of the room could now fall in place!

Before you look at all of the pictures, here is the info to our wonderfully talented friend that painted our nursery: Robin Oas Designs. If you are looking for help painting a nursery, canvas or anything in between she does it all and I would highly recommend her!

A few days before we got started, Kelly painted the walls blue for the sky so we would have a blue canvas to paint on top of. Then Robin came over and we painted the hills and clouds on day 1. Here are pictures of how that day progressed:

While day 1 of painting was fun, day 2 was even better!
I enlisted 3 fabulously artistic and fun girls from our youth group (Katie, Lindsey, & Bethany), one of their brave mom's (Beth) and then of course our incredible artist Robin to help. The following shows the progress as we went along. The entire thing went up in 3 hours and I am still blown away!

Day 3 consisted of Robin going over some colors to make them brighter and me just watching in awe:

Stay tuned for the next post (Phase 2) in which I'll show you all of the furniture in the room, decals on the door/wall/book case and the other finishing touches we made! Hopefully there will also be a baby in this room in a little over a month!